Selma, The Clergy, and the Limits of Solidarity

By Georgia Jackson | Black Perspectives

The church has traditionally been a fundamental part of African American life, a space which could provide stability, strength, and sanctuary seldom found elsewhere. With the church forming established centres of social and political power, indeed, there seems to be a fundamental link between the church and African American freedom. However, when taking a closer look at the history of this important connection, it becomes clear that racist attitudes and stereotypes were deeply embedded within mainstream religious institutions during the Civil Rights Movement. The infamous events in Selma, Alabama in 1965 provide an interesting case study through which to analyze clerical involvement in the movement.

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